Friday, May 31, 2013

Etsy shop promotion: Cassie 'n' a dog named Boo

Here we go, the lucky last shop to be part of my five Etsy shop promotions for the month of May.

Today I am visiting Cassie n a dog named Boo, owned and run by Annabelle in Ottawa, Canada.  Annabelle makes whimsical, fairy tale art using painting and sculpture with found objects.  All her items are one of a kind and very original.

Annabelle describes her creative inspiration:
" With a little help from Charlotte the Whimsical Spider, the Ingenuous Charlotte the spider character from the famous book "Charlotte's Web" (my favourite story) and Cassie the Little Witch and her ghost dog named Boo, I create dark and light whimsical fairytale worlds.
I adore are and always enjoy delving into different mediums and styles, always exploring and opening the doors of the many hidden rooms of imagination that keep my mind's company."
Here's a sample of what you'll find in Annabelle's shop:

If you want to see more from Annabelle you can can check out her two, yes two, blogs - Pastoral Dreams and The Wood Beyond the World.  She also is on Flickr and Facebook.

Well, there you go - hope you've had fun reading along with these shop promotions, its certainly made me step out of my own little zone and discover a lot of other shops on Etsy that I wouldn't have normally looked for, and I've discovered a lot about art!  That's a good thing, I'm always up for a little horizon broadening.

Thanks to Denthe for hosting this lovely promotion month, too.

Happy weekending!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Lemon Washi Dress

Finally, some photos of my Washi Dress that I finished about two weeks ago.  And where else would you photograph a lemon yellow dress but down under your lemon tree?

I made the standard version of this dress with the cut-out neckline and elastic shirring in the back.  It's oh so comfortable and flattering to wear, I'm sure this is not the only time I'll be making this dress, I'm keen to find a nice fabric and try a 3/4 sleeve version now the cooler months are here in Brisbane.

I made this dress out of a "vintage floral" print poplin, I've never been sure about poplin, its a bit stiff and crisp, and crinkles easily if you've been sitting on it, I kind of think of it as a fabric for little girls' clothes.  However I actually don't mind it in this particular project, gives the dress a little bit of body.  I guess it's a learning process to know what kinds of fabrics to use where, that's something I am constantly experimenting with.

Details of this dress are: size XL, bodice modifications were lowering the bust darts one inch, adding 5.5cm of length to the front bodice piece and a corresponding amount to the back piece.  You can read a little more about these alterations here.  Everything else was just to the pattern directions.

Any tips?  Well my only one would be that when adding the bias binding to the inside of the sleeves you should get your iron out and press, press, press those seams so everything sits flat to sew the binding down.  I did this by tiny hand stitches, you can see the little line of stitches in the photo below.  No pressing with my iron meant I got a very puckery finish in that area, not so nice.  In my opinion I've made the best here of a tricky sewing situation (if you've also made this pattern you'll understand what I mean here).

So there it is, my lemon Washi Dress, absolutely nothing sour about it at all.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Etsy shop promotion: Twice as Nice Baby

After promoting three Etsy shops that specialise in art this month its great to be back in the land of sewing to show you the offerings from Twice as Nice Baby.  This shop is run and owned by Tammy Angle from Thornton in Colorado, USA.  Tammy sews fun clothing for infants, toddlers and children, with a selection of t-shirts, hair accessories and fun baby apparel for sale.  Tammy also offers the option to request custom items if exactly what you are looking for is not in her store.

Tammy has a very impressive range of applique designs and to her credit caters equally for both boys and girls (something I personally love to see in an Etsy shop for kids).  It's hard to choose what to show you from Tammy's shop, but here's three of my favourites.  It's really worth clicking through to Etsy to check out Twice as Nice Baby for yourself.

See, you can't argue can you?  Totally fun!

You can also find Twice as Nice Baby on Facebook here.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Morning tea across town

I wouldn't usually drive almost an hour across town and into unknown territory to attend a morning tea, but I did just that yesterday to support Thea Samios from Thea and Sami as she hosted a "Biggest Morning Tea" to raise funds for cancer research.

I packed my oldest off to school, grabbed a coffee from the local shops, studied my map one last time and set off across town with my one year old.  We made it there right on time and spent a very pleasant hour and a half in Thea's lovely studio.  A screen printing studio is made for parties with super long tables and bright airy space.  My boy was a little champion too, letting me stand and chat and generally enjoy myself as long as he was right there on my hip in his sling.  He scored his fair share of sticky treats as well.

Thea's lovely screen printing panels were safely stacked to the side.

The cakes were yummy and the company bright and interesting, plus there were no funny looks if you were snapping pictures of the food and proceedings with your phone camera (I was finally well convinced that my phone camera is completely inadequate).  It was also nice to put some faces to blog names - talking to real people about what happens in blog land is extremely rare for me and oh I enjoyed it so much.  Motherly duties eventually called and I had to leave a little earlier than I wanted to, so I found my goody bag and quietly made my exit.

Thanks Thea for a great morning, and for your gift a Thea and Sami tea towel and vintage tea spoon.  I popped my spoon in with my little collection that lives on top of my coffee machine.  It's in good company.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Etsy shop promotion: Hartelief Yvonne

Happy Monday!  Today we are visiting Hartelief Yvonne, the Etsy shop of Yvonne Pijnacker, from The Netherlands.  Yvonne lives in Wageningen in central Netherlands and my eyes popped out of my head when I noticed this, the world is just too small.  Wageningen, strangely enough, is a place I am very familiar with.  My husband went to Wageningen High School and his mum used to work at the University there for many years.  We visited Wageningen just under twelve months ago, its a lovely place in the world.

But, back to Yvonne!  Yvonne is a mixed media artist using materials such as acrylic paint, paper, glitter, washi tape, spray ink, embossing powder and gloss paint to create her artwork.  Some works available in her shop are original artworks, some are prints of artworks.  Yvonne often incorporates a beautiful quote or saying into the artwork which gives them a lovely meaning and depth.

Here's three of my favourites from her shop:

"There is no road to happiness, just a crazy ride to enjoy..."

Angel of Light brings in her shining candle to remeber us that even in the darkest hour a beatiful light might be near...

"Take the plunge and fly above your fears"

Isn't Yvonne's work beautiful? Her shop name translates as "Sweetheart Yvonne", which I think is perfect for such lovely artwork. As well as selling on Etsy she also participates in exhibitions and you can find her on Facebook.

Eleven more days in May and two more shops to bring you - stay tuned!

Friday, May 17, 2013

What to do with the cardboard tube from the fabric bolt

Now and then we come home from the fabric store with a few cardboard tubes that have been emptied of their fabric.  The store just has them in a bin by the counter and we just help ourselves, we never ask and nobody objects, so I guess it's OK.

They get used for various things, and sometimes I curse them as they fall loudly on our hard floors, or I step and trip on them (ouch), but they get used by the boys for hours of entertainment (rules: no swinging, hitting and keep them down low).  Eventually the cardboard disintegrates (or I get thoroughly sick of them) and we toss them away and get new ones another time.

The best is rolling matchbox cars down inside them.  The small boy likes the action of the popping the car into the tube, the big boy likes how the cars shoot across the floor as they exit their long and sloping tunnel.

Yesterday afternoon it was cold and it was just the two of us inside with the heater on.  He rolled with intent and concentration, I played chief toy car retriever.  I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

This is what it's all about

At 6am this morning, while I was hopping about on the cold floor boards waiting for the microwave to warm my son's morning drink of milk, I picked up my mobile and checked my email inbox.  There was an email called "A dress" and when I opened it my eyes snapped open and I was wide awake.  A lovely email from a customer, showing me pictures of her daughter enjoying an autumn trip to the beach, wearing a dress she bought from my Etsy shop last year.  What a lovely lady, she even agreed to me sharing these adorable photos with you.

This, my friends, is what it is all about for me.  My time, creativity and enjoyment of the making process and those customers who like what I do enough to make a purchase and share their enjoyment of my work too, whether by picture or word it gives me so much warmth and pleasure.  No fame nor fortune here, just keeping it small and keeping it real, just the way I like it.

Happy days :)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Etsy shop promotion: A Cat Like Curiosity

Happy Friday and welcome to my second feature on a fellow Etsy seller.  Today I am visiting A Cat Like Curiosity, owned and run by Sarah Evans from the UK.  Sarah is an artist, writer and blogger who makes art prints and cards, and also turns some of her art into necklaces and brooches.  A lot of her art work is based around cats, often with gorgeous little mantras and affirmations to compliment her drawings.  As well as her art she even has a turn with a needle and thread and makes heart decorations and tiny cat softies!  Sarah is multi-talented indeed.  There's lots on offer in Sarah's shop so head on over an check it out.  I have a few cat loving friends and there's certainly some cute cat themed items I'll be keeping in mind for them.

Here's a few of my favourite items from her art work:

(Sometimes I feel like this!)

How is your language knowledge? How many words can you recognise here?  I think it's fascinating to see the connections for the word for home between languages.

This picture is just so sweet.

Sarah has a wonderfully successful blog, which I just visited and got sidetracked into reading, and of course you can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest if you want to see more of Sarah and A Cat Like Curiosity. 

Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Washi dress progress

Slowly, slowly my Washi dress is coming together.  Sticking the pattern print out together and tracing pieces in various sizes sure have taken up time, but a lot of pre-sewing has also been going into this project - to get the most out of it in the end, but also to challenge myself along the way.  A proper fitted bodice and elastic shirring are two things totally new to me.

Making a muslin for a dress with a fitted bodice is a must.  I took my upper body measurements about a hundred times, but facts are facts, I'm wide across the shoulders and above average in the bust, and narrow in the waist and hips.  Still I couldn't quite believe that I was looking like an XL in this pattern.  In Australian sizes I am usually an M - eek!  I was stubborn (and vain!) and made a muslin in size L, nope, tight across the shoulders and the bodice didn't even come down below my bust.  I relented and made a size XL which was better but the bust darts were sitting well above my boobs and I still had waistline issues.  After having a late night Google study session on other people's experiences with making the Washi dress and a crash course in full bust adjustments I ended up simply dropping the apex of the bust darts an inch and adding 5.5cm to the length of the front and back bodice pieces - voila, perfect fit!

I had three metres of a light and crisp pale yellow cotton with small blue flowers printed on it ready to go.

I pinned and cut carefully.

Every day I am doing a few more steps in the process, just where time allows me to squeeze in a few minutes with my sewing machine.

I have waist pleats

and elastic shirring at the back (yay!).

I'm nearly there, today I conquered the neckline and the facings but have the sleeves, sides and hemming to go.  Hopefully I'll be able to wear it for a little photo shoot this coming weekend.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Etsy shop promotion: BaleaRaitz art and illustrations

During May I am taking part in a little group Etsy shop promotion.  Hosted by Denise from Denthe the idea is that you sign up and get a bunch of Etsy shops to feature on your social media and in return a bunch of other folks give your shop a promotion.  I thought it would be a fun thing to do, and something I should do more of in general.  I have five shops to review over the month and boy they are a mixed range of offerings from around the world.

Today I am staying close to home and promoting a shop from sunny Brisbane.  Let's take a visit to  BaleaRaitz art and illustration, owned and created by Lorena Balea-Raitz.  Lorena has a background in fashion and loves to illustrate - so her illustrated fashion themed stationary range came into being.  Her work has a lovely sketchy feeling to it and she uses a lot of nice soft colours.  There are mainly greeting cards and fashion prints for sale, but she is also awfully clever and offers logo, banner and blog design and custom wedding illustration and portraiture - amazing!  Here's a few of my favourites from her store:

If you want to see more from Lorena you can go and check out her blog, or follow her on Facebook (check out the gorgeous fashion photography there!).  Enjoy!


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